2020 Mercedes AMG C-Class Sedan vs. 2020 Audi S3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/18

The AMG C-Class Sedan offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The S3 only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The AMG C-Class Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The S3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The AMG C-Class Sedan has standard Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The S3 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the AMG C-Class Sedan and the S3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the AMG C-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

Engine

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The AMG C 43 Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 97 more horsepower (385 vs. 288) and 104 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 280) than the S3’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The AMG C 63 Sedan’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 181 more horsepower (469 vs. 288) and 199 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 280) than the S3’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The AMG C 63 S Sedan’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 215 more horsepower (503 vs. 288) and 236 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 280) than the S3’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG C 63 S Sedan 4.0 turbo V8 is faster than the Audi S3:

AMG C-Class Sedan

S3

Zero to 60 MPH

3.7 sec

4.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

8.1 sec

10.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.2 sec

5.6 sec

Quarter Mile

11.9 sec

12.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

123 MPH

108 MPH

Top Speed

180 MPH

155 MPH

In a Car and Driver race course test, the Mercedes AMG C 63 S Sedan was clocked 12.1 seconds faster than the Audi S3 (199.2 sec. vs. 211.3 sec.).

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the AMG C-Class Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The S3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The AMG C-Class Sedan has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the S3 (17.4 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Mercedes AMG C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the S3.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the AMG C-Class Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the S3:

AMG C 43 Sedan

AMG C 63 S Sedan

S3

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

15.8 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

14.2 inches

12.2 inches

The AMG C-Class Sedan S offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The S3 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The AMG C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the S3:

AMG C-Class Sedan

S3

70 to 0 MPH

147 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

101 feet

113 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the AMG C 63 Sedan’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the S3 (F:245/40R18 & R:265/40R18 vs. 235/35R19).

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the AMG C-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The S3 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The AMG C-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The S3 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the AMG C-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 8.2 inches longer than on the S3 (111.8 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the AMG C-Class Sedan is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than the track on the S3.

The AMG C 63 S Sedan handles at 1.01 G’s, while the S3 pulls only .92 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The AMG C 63 S Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the S3 (24.1 seconds @ .86 average G’s vs. 25.2 seconds @ .81 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the AMG C-Class Sedan a Compact car, while the S3 is rated a Subcompact.

The AMG C-Class Sedan has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S3 (90 vs. 86).

The AMG C-Class Sedan has .6 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the S3.

Cargo Capacity

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The AMG C Sedan has a much larger trunk than the S3 (12.6 vs. 10 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the AMG C-Class offers cargo security. The S3’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the AMG C-Class Sedan’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The S3 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the AMG C-Class Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the S3. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The AMG C-Class Sedan has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The S3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the AMG C-Class Sedan, the memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The S3 doesn’t offer a memory system.

The AMG C-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The AMG C-Class Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The S3 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Keyless-Go standard on the AMG C-Class Sedan allows you to unlock the doors, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Audi S3’s Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the AMG C-Class Sedan offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The S3 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the AMG C-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The S3 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the AMG C-Class Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The S3’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the AMG C-Class Sedan keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The S3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The AMG C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The S3 Premium Plus’ automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes AMG C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Audi S3 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

The AMG C-Class Sedan is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S3 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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